Page 4501 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 November 2005

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As I said, this motion does two things: it demeans your own federal colleagues and reflects how you think. Both of those are of concern. There will be times when, if you are in power, you have to represent the people of the ACT and not suck up to the federal government. Have the courage to do so. Life would be easy if we agreed with the commonwealth all of the time. We on this side of the house have the people that have the courage and the integrity to stand up when it is necessary to stand up.

I want to respond to that outrageously ageist comment made by Mr Seselja about the old guys that criticise the Muppets. Who were they criticising? The Muppets. I spent a little time trying to allocate some characters across there. Take your pick: Kermit, Miss Piggy, Scooter, Ralph the dog, Animal, Fozzie Bear, Beaker. We will work on it. But thank you for the handles.

I will close by returning to the serious matter of wondering how it would play out if, at some future time, there was a federal Labor government and a territorial Liberal government led by Richard Mulcahy. It will never happen, but I get some delight out of just imagining Dicky the coat tugger chasing Kim “Bomber” Beazley around Parliament House, hanging around the foyer waiting for the Labor ministers to pop out and say, “Remember when I was a member of the Tasmanian ALP? I used to be a comrade.” As I said, this has been an illuminating exercise on the attitude of a pretender to the subthrone over there.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (12.23), in reply: Illuminating indeed, but the performance of the Chief Minister today has got to be one of the most illuminating performances I have ever seen. I had a notepad to make some notes to rebut, but I was struggling to get more than about three lines. And there was not much in those. It seemed to be more of a tantrum than a response to some serious issues that we raise.

The term “sycophantic” was used by Mr Stanhope and Mr Quinlan. I do not think they understand the point of what we are trying to get across. The fact of the matter is that, in the commonwealth environment, particularly in the commonwealth government environment, funds, opportunities for employment and programs are the subject of much intense competition. The concern we are trying to get across to government members is that, in that competitive mix, the persistent and repeated performances of constant opposition and lack of cooperation on so many different issues must surely work against the interests of the people of the ACT.

I look back at what is going on here. I spoke of the enormous reliance that the territory budget has in terms of commonwealth funds. We would be out of business without that level of funding. I have also looked at some of the other areas where the territory stands to benefit. The tax cuts, in particular, that we will see and have seen, tend to benefit Canberra out of all proportion due to the large proportion of middle to high-income earners. They then flow through to boost our local economy.

In terms of direct jobs, the average staffing levels in the Australian public service are expected to increase this financial year by about 1,670 positions. Many of these will be located in Canberra. In the previous budget there were 1,200 new public service jobs created, on top of 3,000 new jobs and 3,300 new jobs, respectively, in the two prior

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